Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 519 Pages
Publisher: Candlewick, Sept 8, 2009
Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order.
But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer?
And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...
The Ask and the Answer is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure.
As much as I struggled with The Knife of Never Letting Go. I adored this installment of the book. It moved fast and furiously. I was so caught up in Todd and Viola's separate struggles and wanting them back together so badly. Todd really grew up in this book. The first book was all about him becoming a man, but the second book is what life is like for him as a man. The decisions and repercussions of those decisions.
After trying to get away from the mob from Prentisstown, Todd unwittingly walks with an injured Viola right into their arms. Mayor Prentiss is awaiting Todd in the town of Haven that everyone thought would be their salvation. Viola is near death after being shot by Davy Prentiss (the mayor's son), Todd will do anything to get her the help that she needs and that is exactly what the Mayor wants. What he's always wanted--Todd.
Viola is situated with the healers in Haven. All women. There she meets the strong-willed Mistress Coyle. There Viola is healed and learns that Mistress Coyle has motives of her own in removing the newest member of Haven (now called New Prentisstown and the Mayor is now that President).
President Prentiss (Mayor as Todd will call him throughout the series) knows that Viola is alive and is using this knowledge to keep Todd his prisoner. Prentiss, to me, was worse than President Snow in the Hunger Games Trilogy. There was just something so inexplicably evil about him. He mass murdered women in Old Prenstisstown and he is banding women in New Prentisstown. This man obviously hates women, and it's not because they don't have the noise. There is something deep rooted there.
Watching Todd and Davy Prentiss get on together was fun stuff. Todd is the quiet, introverted person, whereas Davy is always trying to get his father's attention and affection. President Prentiss doesn't think much of his wastrel son, and tells Todd how he wishes that he was his son. Much to the dismay of Davy who really does become a better person because of Todd. The president will use this to control Todd at one point.
Todd's noise. He's learning to control with the help of President Prentiss. He's learning to shut it down and control people that he needs. When the women of healing bring back the Answer and start bombing the town and it's people to bits, Todd is worried that Viola may be a part of this terrorist group. Unfortunately only, Todd and Viola can band together to stop the President and the Answer.
The basis of this story from what I read is that information is everywhere, everyday of every hour. Too much information can make monsters of men. We are all so connected that we don't take the time to shut it down. (hence the noise.) This is perhaps one of my most favorite series to date. I loved watching the blooming relationship between Viola and Todd. The friendship between Todd and Davy. Even watching Viola and Mistress Coyle, there was something there. Just a pitch-perfect book.